Though I will say this, very cryptically: his father and some of the things he said to David as a child make my skin ITCH. The details of this you will have to discover on your own.
Anyway, the book is a series of essays and stories that aren’t necessarily connected but have very intense flavour. A piece about the airlines and flying today entitled “Standing By” where David talks about the general ugliness of human behaviour, left me nodding in agreement, as if David and all the other readers of this essay could see me.
“We’re forever blaming the airline industry for turning us into monsters: it’s the fault of the ticket agents, the baggage handlers, the slowpokes at the newsstands and the fast-food restaurants. But what if this is who we truly are, and the airport’s just a forum that allows us to be our real selves, not just hateful but gloriously so?”
This is how I sometimes feel about social media and online article comments. It’s a chicken and the egg argument: are we vile and the medium just shines a big freaking spotlight on that fact or does the medium MAKE us vile? I don’t know. A bit of both I suspect though I would very much hate to think that the people who comment in such ugly ways online are somehow representative of the population. I think I would have to seriously think about moving to that mountain top I’m always yammering on about, if that were in fact the case.
For the writers out there, another interesting essay (which not coincidentally also made me think about the role of social media in our every day lives) was “Day In, Day Out”, where David talks about his keeping a journal and the role that plays in his writing:
“Hugh and I will go on a trip, and while he’s out, walking the streets of Manila or Reykjavik or wherever we happen to be, I’m back at the hotel, writing about an argument we’d overheard in the breakfast room. It’s not lost on me that I’m so busy recording life, I don’t have time to really live it.”
Replace “recording” with “live tweeting” and you get where I’m going here.
Ultimately, the book is a satirical hit for me and I’m glad I spent a few hours in David’s world. No live tweeting required, but I did write this post, so what does that say about my living of life?